Republican congressional nominee Raul Labrador joined with 650 electoral candidates on the state and federal levels in signing a pledge to oppose any form of climate change legislation that would result in additional tax dollars coming in to the federal government. The pledge was put forth by the Americans for Prosperity, a group based in Washington, D.C., which professes to be about free markets and individual liberties.
Though the group doesn't endorse candidates, one official said Labrador's signing was the right thing to do. "The one thing elected officials should be able to agree on is that global warming shouldn’t be used as an excuse to hike taxes on citizens and businesses,” said AFP Vice President for Policy Phil Kerpen. “We encourage all of Idaho’s elected officials and candidates for elected office to sign the pledge." John Foster, campaign spokesman for the man Labrador is trying to unseat, Democrat Walt Minnick, told IdahoReporter.com that "Since he was elected, Walt has held to a general policy of not signing pledges."
One version of cap-and-trade legislation passed the U.S. House in June of 2009, without Minnick's vote. The essence of the bill was putting a cap on how much companies could pollute and issuing them credits for that amount. Larger companies that produce more pollution and waste could purchase credits from smaller companies that don't use all their credits. Critics of the bill say it's a form of corporate redistribution of wealth and that it will do nothing to curb climate change, while proponents believe that companies will produce less pollution if it is costly for them to do so. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wanted to finish the cap-and-trade bill this year, but has decided to put that plan on hold.
For Americans for Prosperity, the issue isn't with global warming, necessarily, but with the cost that cap-and-trade legislation puts on business and families. Here's what the group says about the estimated price tag of the legislation:
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has scored the House plan as an $846 billion increase in federal revenue, a burden that will be borne by taxpayers and consumers for decades to come. Recent analysis by the Institute for Energy Research found the Kerry-Lieberman Senate bill would cost the nation more than 500,000 jobs by 2015 and decrease household income by over $1,000 by 2020.
“Using the guise of climate change to transfer dollars from hard-working citizens to bureaucratic big government is unacceptable,” said Kerpen. “Regardless of their stance on global warming, this should be common ground for all of our elected officials at all levels of government.”